Numerical simulation on the origin of solidification cracking in laser welded thick-walled structures
One of the main factors affecting the use of lasers in the industry for welding thick structures is the process accompanying solidification cracks. These cracks mostly occurring along the welding direction in the welding center, and strongly affect the safety of the welded components. In the present study, to obtain a better understanding of the relation between the weld pool geometry, the stress distribution and the solidification cracking, a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model was combined with a thermo-mechanical model. The CFD model was employed to analyze the flow of the molten metal in the weld pool during the laser beam welding process. The weld pool geometry estimated from the CFD model was used as a heat source in the thermal model to calculate the temperature field and the stress development and distributions. The CFD results showed a bulging region in the middle depth of the weld and two narrowing areas separating the bulging region from the top and bottom surface. The thermo-mechanical simulations showed a concentration of tension stresses, transversally and vertically, directly after the solidification during cooling in the region of the solidification cracking.